5 Amazing Jurassic Park- The Ride Facts

20150325_095136 (Large)Jurassic Park- The Ride opened on June 21st 1996 as a major attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood. Totally transforming the Lower Lot. All other rides on the Lower Lot have since been replaced. But Jurassic Park- The Ride is going strong. Perhaps because Jurassic Park- The Ride was a massive project… so massive, that the following 5 facts can clarify that for you! Continue reading “5 Amazing Jurassic Park- The Ride Facts”

Universal Studios Hollywood Update – March 25th 2015

20150325_161844 (Large)Jurassic Park the Ride has finally reopened from its refurbishment, and we have an in-depth overview. Additionally in this update, we have a crazy amount of other Universal Studios Hollywood things to discuss, such as the walls of Springfield coming down, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter construction, the Furious 7 promotion, Studio Tour construction, and more!  Continue reading “Universal Studios Hollywood Update – March 25th 2015”

5 Disneyland Facts You May Not Know!

20140603_094720 (Large)Disneyland. Claimed to be the ‘Happiest Place On Earth’. Every child wants to go there, and pretty much any adult in the state of California has been there. Many even grew up with it. Disneyland. The theme-park that set the standards for modern-day amusement parks, and is arguably the world’s most famous theme-park. Now what do people not know about Disneyland … Here are 5 Disneyland facts you may not know! Continue reading “5 Disneyland Facts You May Not Know!”

Universal Studios Hollywood Update – March 14th 2015

20150314_123027 (Large)For weeks it was known that Jurassic Park was to reopen on the 14th of March, after a big refurbishment! So we didn’t want to miss out, and headed over. Then things didn’t go as planned, and many angry guests later, Universal Studios still didn’t manage to resolve the issues in time. Nonetheless we’ve got a wonderfully diverse update for you!  Continue reading “Universal Studios Hollywood Update – March 14th 2015”

Giant San Diego Wheel or Observation Tower.

skyspire-top_t540Exiting new proposals are coming in to the city of San Diego regarding new tourist experiences. Private investors around the county have been trying to add new attractions for decades, but with very little success. With the political gridlock now lifting from the county, these investors may have a chance at getting their projects approved.

 

Continue reading “Giant San Diego Wheel or Observation Tower.”

Universal Studios Hollywood 2015 – 50 Years of Amazing Entertainment

“For 50 years, Universal Studios Hollywood has given guests unprecedented access to the world’s most alluring business by inviting them to peek behind the velvet curtain and become part of the exciting movie-making process,” said Larry Kurzweil, President of Universal Studios Hollywood. “We are reimagining over 75 percent of our destination as we build upon our incredible success and expand our vision for the future, and we look forward to entertaining and inspiring guests for generations to come with what will ultimately be an entirely new theme park experience.”USH PU Banner001 (Large) Continue reading “Universal Studios Hollywood 2015 – 50 Years of Amazing Entertainment”

Universal Studios Hollywood Update February 13th 2015

Universal Studios Hollywood is ever changing, and here’s the start of our more frequent coverage. This update includes the celebration of the Chinese year of the Ram, Springfield construction, Studio Tour work, Wizarding World of Harry Potter construction, and other things around the park!

Springfield is coming along very nicely, and parts of it will start to open up late March. 20150213_130703 (Large) 20150213_130714 (Large) 20150213_130620 (Large) 20150213_113910 (Large) 20150213_102057 (Large) Springfield will have a wide selection of food options, recreated from the popular Simpsons series. The version found in the Orlando resort was a huge hit with guests, convincing enough to use the -already limited- space at the Hollywood park to recreate Springfield. 20150213_091932 (Large) 20150213_091846 (Large) 20150213_091825 (Large) 20150213_091813 (Large) The old Ben & Jerry’s next to the Special Effects stage is under reconstruction to meet the Springfield needs. 20150213_091758 (Large) Look at that Springfield Skyline, in a couple of months that’ll be in the shadow of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!20150213_171319 (Large)

Shrek 4D has reopened after the Wizarding World of Harry Potter buildings next to it were finalized. The line now maneuvers under the WWoHP scenery, to an all new switchback line (similar to Studio Tour line) on the back side of the 4D theater.  20150213_114515 (Large) But the Wizarding World buildings sure look spectacular alright!20150213_114432 (Large) 20150213_114436 (Large) 20150213_114448 (Large) 20150213_114450 (Large) The construction is moving rapidly, there are workers seriously everywhere you look along the Wizarding World lot. 20150213_114512 (Large) Shrek line! I meant… Wizarding World…20150213_114501 (Large) 20150213_113848 (Large) 20150213_113847 (Large) 20150213_102036 (Large) The huge ride building is enclosed, receiving AC vents. Lots of work going on inside!20150213_101744 (Large) And then just to imagine how massive Wizarding World will be for Universal Studios Hollywood!20150213_092004 (Large) 20150213_101959 (Large) Lots of progress on the castle. 20150213_114534 (Large)

Happy Lunar New Year! Today was the first day of Universal’s celebration of the year of the Ram.20150213_114317 (Large) 20150213_113959 (Large) All of Universal Plaza was beautifully decorated with lanterns and flowers. 20150213_114005 (Large) With an amazing center piece!20150213_114033 (Large) All chines horoscopes were presented on different lampposts around the plaza. 20150213_114045 (Large) Even the selling of snacks was done in style! 20150213_114253 (Large) Beautiful decorations. I found it really unique. Looked wonderful!20150213_114241 (Large) 20150213_114002 (Large) There was almost no one as I entered the plaza, at about noon. Later, when I left the plaza, it was definitely a lot busier. 20150213_114244 (Large) 20150213_114258 (Large) Curious George, in style! 20150213_114215 (Large)Even though there weren’t many people out on the plaza, as soon Mandarin speaking Megatron came out, people came running from everywhere. Quite funny, there were many Asian tourist tours at the park today, and as soon as Megatron came out, many of them were surprised to hear Mandarin, and came over. Very exciting to see. And indeed, this ‘event’ speaks to a large Universal audience. 20150213_114119 (Large)

Some interesting Jurassic Park River Adventure details. The first animatronic Dino from the second scene of the ride works again, and better than the last couple of months. The tall animatronic Dino in the first scene has been fixed, its ‘skin’ ripped, and looked horrible. this has been replaced. The car scene is still not functioning, at least the audio that was going with it has been turned off. The last times the audio of a sliding car was on, but the car itself didn’t move an inch. And then I figured something really cool/interesting… Jurassic Park isn’t only home to Dinosaurs, but also to MICE! I was taking shots of the splashdown from this angle, at the ride’s building, when I noticed mice running out of the drop tunnel onto the rocks, some disappeared inside the tunnel again, and I decided to keep watching one of them, that after a certain splashdown got wet, and returned inside the tunnel, in a hole in the wall. I find it hilarious that actual tiny mice live in a ride that is to portray a world of gigantic creatures. How’s that for irony!20150213_112822 (Large)20150213_112825 (Large)

The Studio Tour’s new entrance! Looking very nice! 20150213_130728 (Large) 20150213_171218 (Large) The exit and entrance are divided by a huge set of planters, on the other side of the entrance plaza appropriate stylish lights have been added!20150213_171140 (Large) On board Studio Tour. The Psycho mansion is being reconstructed and receiving some love!20150213_101051 (Large) 20150213_101057 (Large)

That was it for today! Thanks for reading, we will be posting Universal Studios Hollywood updates more frequently, as our coverage has expanded here as well!

Giant Dipper – Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk – Review

The Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz beach Boardwalk

If any California roller coaster was ever a classic, it is The Giant Dipper. In the most picturesque location imaginable on the Santa Cruz beach, this woodie’s red and white color scheme and simplistic double out and back layout make it a joy to look at. Built in 1924 for a cost of 50,000 dollars in 47 days, it is one of the ten oldest operating roller coasters in the U.S. It is recognized as a piece of roller coaster history and has become an ACE coaster landmark. It is also a very rare remaining example of the Aurther and Looff’s work manufacturing roller coasters. Despite Giant Dipper’s remarkable age, it is still an excellent roller coaster, and a favorite to many.DSC_0135.JPG (Large)

As mentioned previously, this coaster is nestled snugly in its spot on the Boardwalk, overlooking the gorgeous coastline. It’s highest point is 70 feet tall, which is of course the top of the lift hill. Although this may sound unimpressive, it is one of the tallest attractions at the Boardwalk, and it certainly looks as if it dominates the skyline of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.DSC_0145.JPG (Large) It’s drop is measured at approximately 65 feet, at the bottom of which the coaster reaches it’s top speed of about 50 mph. The total track length is 2,640 feet, which is navigated by the coaster’s Morgan trains. It has two trains with six cars each that have two rows and seat two across, for a total of 24 riders a train.DSC_0188.JPG (Large)

When walking down the midway, it is a very hard attraction to miss. A large sign that reads ‘Giant Dipper’ is directly above the ride entrance. Directly below it is an imprint also stating the name, and the year it was built. DSC_0141.JPG (Large) DSC_0177 (Large)After entering the line, riders will pass through a quick set of outdoor switchbacks before coming upon a plaque informing them that it is indeed an ACE landmark. Riders then enter the indoor waiting area, where many facts and pictures of the ride can be found.DSC_0143 (Large) After scanning their wristband, guests are allowed to select their seat, restraints are checked, and the horn blows. Before you know it, you’re underway! The interesting thing about the Giant Dipper’s trains is that one side is entirely enclosed, riders can only enter and exit on one side of the train. Riders enter and exit on the right side of the train.

This is a coaster that does not take its time getting going. As soon as the train is dispatched, it immediately descends into a pitch black tunnel in which it coasts its way through a few turns. This can actually be really thrilling if you are not expecting it, and is a very cool feature. You then emerge from the tunnel onto the lift hill, where riders can enjoy some beautiful views before the train crests the lift hill and descends the first drop. Some gentle floater airtime can be enjoyed here, which is soon contrasted by the first turnaround which is essentially un-banked. The lack of banking provides some very intense and almost painful laterals. DSC_0221.JPG (Large) DSC_0236 (Large)After that, a series of airtime hills ensue. Surprise surprise, unlike its cousin at Belmont Park, this Giant Dipper’s airtime hills actually provide… airtime! Although not all of them do, throughout the ride there is sufficient airtime and some enjoyable head choppers can be found within the support structure. We found that these sensations are best enjoyed in the back seat. After some more hills, some more un-banked turnarounds, and total of one minute and 52 seconds spent, it comes screeching into the brake run, with the riders almost always erupting into a round of applause.DSC_0249.JPG (Large)

This ride defines its respective park, representing the history and quality that they both share. It is a perfect balance between a thrilling and family friendly experience, and makes a great first ‘big’ coaster for the young ones. Its mix of forces such as graceful airtime, and violent laterals make for a great experience for any enthusiast as well. There is no doubt that it’s a classic, but its more than that.DSC_0134.JPG (Large) Even without the nostalgia that surrounds it for many, it is a great wooden coaster. At 91 years old, it’s smoother than many modern woodies and really only has one or two rough spots. Yes we’re looking at you guys, Roar and GhostRider. If you are at the Boardwalk, you really don’t have an excuse not to ride. It is the parks flagship coaster, and rightfully so. Even with Goldstriker only an hour-drive away, it’s hard not to think of The Giant Dipper when discussing the best Californian woodies. We may love this ride, but what do you think? Make sure to leave your thoughts below.

Belmont Park Update February 7th 2015

This Saturday we finally made it out to Belmont Park. We stayed after the sun set, so we have some night shots of the park. We entered from the back entrance of the park so there was not much in the form of an entrance, but there was construction going on at the Wave House (local indoor pool and FlowRider venue). Though the Beach Blaster was running. (Sorry for the image quality, due to technical difficulties another device was used to capture the images).
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The new SkyRopes course was open.
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Krazy Kars, a crazy inner-tube bumper-car hybrid was also open.
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The all new Adrenaline Zone was attracting quite a crowd. Adrenaline Zone is a new experience that opened earlier this year that features a leap of faith, a zipline, and multiple rock climbing walls.
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The parks old carousel is a hit with guests. Is that a Boardwalk thing? 😀
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Prices!
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The midway was nice and bright with all the new neon from the recent area refurbishment.
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Gotta love the fact that they still have a tilt-a-whirl! 20
Sadly, Control Freak (an inverting flat ride where you control how much your vehicle spins) was down, presumably for annual maintenance.
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Octotron, a strange prototype ride that spins in a circle while riders control the barrel roll motion of the seats, was also open.
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And the crown jewel of the park, The Giant Dipper was open! The real fan favorite, and the second oldest coaster in California!
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Here are some night shots of the park!
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That’s it for this update, check out our HUGE Twisted Colossus and Scream Update here!

A WHALE-OF-A-VALENTINE’S-DAY CELEBRATION: Valentine’s Evening With Shamu

Valentine’s Evening With Shamu is an elegant, unforgettable, romantic evening at SeaWorld® San Diego on Saturday, Feb. 14. SeaWorld’s award-winning chefs will cook up a delicious Californiainspired four-course menu, and diners are sure to be mesmerized by majestic killer whale performances just a few feet away from candlelit tables on Shamu’s private poolside patio. The menu includes a sustainable tuna stack, artisan cheese, organic tomato soup, braised angus short ribs and much more. Seating is limited. To make reservations, call (800) 257-4268 or visit www.SeaWorldSanDiego.com.Dine With Shamu V15 (Large)

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Update January 31st 2015

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a seaside amusement park in Santa Cruz that opened in 1907, making it one of the oldest and most classic parks out there. The Boardwalk is a little different from most theme parks as rather than paying to enter, you enter and exit the park at will. To ride, you either purchase individual tickets, or an all-day ride pass. We are really excited to be covering this park now!072 (Large) 073 (Large)

As it is the off season, the official park hours are 12PM to 5PM, although the rides actually remain open almost until 6PM. Some rides and attractions are also closed for off season work and maintenance. To compensate for this, the park offers a discounted all day ride pass. The discounted all day pass is only $23.95 for unlimited rides.

Fireball is closed, unfortunately. We actually quite like that ride, more so than its sibling at California’s Great America, Delirium.079 (Large)

Sky Glider is also closed.109 (Large)

It would look as if Fireball and Sky Glider were the only closed attraction, until you walk down to the southernmost end of the park. The entire section is closed and being extensively refurbished. This includes many rides such as Riptide, Logger’s Revenge, Cave Train, Tornado, and others.100 (Large)

Many restaurants in the area are closed as well.106 (Large)

An arcade in that section is being completely redone.

It appears as if they are painting large pieces of wood white, maybe for The Giant Dipper.102 (Large)

The Ferris wheel has many of its cars off the structure, presumably being refurbished.104 (Large)

We really hope that Cave Train is receiving some work. It has potential to be a good dark ride, but has really fallen into a state of disrepair recently.

Working your way back to the center of the park, everything else is open. Everyone’s favorite ride, the Giant Dipper is open but only running one train.077 (Large)

For a 90 plus year old ride, it is very smooth with some crazy laterals, great airtime, and awesome head chopper effects. Expect a full ride review on it in the near future, because we love this classic!078 (Large) 107 (Large)

Undertow is also open. It is running four out of its six trains, each holding four people. 084 (Large)

We really enjoy this coaster as well, and it’s certainly better than its predecessor Hurricane.  A great ride for those of all ages. Expect a review for it in the even nearer future!083 (Large)

Double Shot is also open. This is actually a custom model which is 125 feet tall as opposed to the standard 85 feet, making for a slightly more intense ride with slightly more airtime.075 (Large)

Pirate Ship is also open. This one doesn’t quite tilt as high as the same style attraction at Pacific park. It is more synonymous with Six Flags Magic Mountain’s attraction.096 (Large)

The Auther and Looff Carousel is also operating. Now if anything was ever a classic, it’s this carousel. There is a mechanism that dispenses rings with which you attempt to throw said rings into a clowns mouth. It is actually really fun and adds that much more to a very family friendly ride. Built in 1911, it is one of the oldest carousels in the world.097 (Large)131 (Large)

It even has its logo imprinted in the ground outside of it.081 (Large)

The Haunted Castle dark ride is running as well. Although it’s not excessively scary, it’s a cool thing to have as yearlong attraction, and some of the sets look half decent. It is a very impressive attraction for a boardwalk park.110 (Large)

With all of these attractions, you almost forget about the beautiful stretch of California Coast Line right in front of you. It is very popular in the summer and actually features quite a few concerts.094 (Large)

That is mostly it for this update. Expect more coverage from this awesome park in the future as well as some of the ride reviews mentioned above. Make sure to leave a comment about your thoughts on this park below!

Also, click here to check out the Twisted Colossus Update from the same day, including information  and pictures of Scream!’s repaint!

Throwback Thursday – Defunct Studio Tour Attractions

We all know and love that great attraction at Universal Studios that offers a potpourri of just about everything a theme park/studio has to offer known as the Studio Tour.  But did you know that the Studio Tour has been bringing thrills to Studio visitors since 1964.  Although some the tried and true events that occur on the tour have been around for years, many have not made the cut and been defunct for more modern attractions.  The following is a list of said attractions, what they featured, and what they were replaced by.

Rock Slide (1974-1979):  The tram would stop by a mountain which would begin to rumble.  Suddenly, boulders would begin to fall from the cliff, and the tram would have to dodge the boulders.  The finale of this attraction was the tram colliding with the final boulder, which would later be explained to be paper machet as most heavy looking objects in film are.  The attraction closed in 1979 to make space for the new state of the art Battle-star Gallactica attraction.

Runaway Train (1974-1985):  The tram would cross a train track that riders were told was defunct, however, just as the tram went to cross the tracks, a train would come rushing up and have to brake causing screeching and sparking on the track, just barely stopping before hitting the tram.  Tour guides would explain how sparks were artificially created beneath the train and then shot out to create the effect that the train was actually emergently braking.  The attraction closed due to technical difficulties, however, the train can still be spotted on the studio tour today.

Avalanche Tunnel (1974-2001):  The avalanche tunnel was a rotating tunnel that would simulate an avalanche, complete with destroyed avalanche warning signs and fake snow, as well as sound and temperature affects.  This part of the studio tour was re designed to be the Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb in 2001.

Battle-star Gallactica (1979-1992):  This attraction was a crown jewel for the park.  It featured both audio animatronics and actors head to head in a high tech laser blast off.  It was the first ride to utilize audio animatronics outside of a Disney park and was the first dark ride to incorporate live actors.  The attraction was shut down in 1992 and replaced with Back to the Future: the Ride.

King Kong Encounter (1986-2008):   The tram entered 1976 New York City where King Kong is on the loose and grabs and shakes the tram, which eventually escapes his grasp and gets out of the city safely. The 7-ton, 30-foot-tall (9.1 m) Kong figure was the largest and most complex animatronic figure in existence for many years. The sophistication of the attraction broke new ground and paved the way for today’s themed attractions, including a Universal Studios Florida version. This attraction was completely destroyed by a fire in the early morning of June 1, 2008. As of June 3, 2008, Universal Studios officials stated that the experience would not be rebuilt, and instead was replaced by the new King Kong: 360 3-D attraction, based on the 2005 film.

The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (2001-2013):  Riders are supposed to be taken to see props from the film The Mummy but instead enter the cursed tomb of Imhotep, and are sucked into a viscous sandstorm, before just barely escaping the dead kings wrath.  The wash demolished in 2013 and will now be the location for Fast and Furious Supercharged.

Fast and Furious: Extreme Close-Up (2006-2013): Extreme close up showed the magic behing the movement of the cars in Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, however, Universal was not happy on how this attraction portrayed the series and was closed in 2013.  Planning for Supercharged began shortly after.